Challenger asks for recount in Cherokee chief race

AP News
Posted: Jun 29, 2011 4:43 PM
Challenger asks for recount in Cherokee chief race

The challenger in a disputed race for principal chief of the Cherokee Nation says he's formally requesting a recount.

Longtime tribal councilman Bill John Baker said Wednesday he wants to know why the American Indian tribe's election commission overturned the original results from Saturday's election.

Unofficial final returns announced Sunday morning showed Baker leading three-term incumbent Chief Chad Smith by 11 votes. But when the election commission certified the election Monday, Smith had a seven-vote lead out of more than 15,000 cast.

The election commission hasn't said why the vote totals changed. A message left Wednesday wasn't immediately returned.

In a statement released Wednesday, Chief Smith said that "despite all this, the election results stand, pending an anticipated recount tomorrow."

The Cherokee Nation is one of the nation's largest.